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The spirit of the late Carrie Fisher could be felt throughout the galaxy far, far away at the Los Angeles premiere of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Saturday night.
“I want to dedicate tonight to Carrie, who is up there right now flipping me the bird,” writer-director Rian Johnson said onstage alongside stars of the film including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o, Mark Hamill and Adam Driver, composer John Williams and Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy.
He urged the packed house at the Shrine Auditorium to “have a blast tonight for Carrie.”
Fisher, who died nearly a year ago after completing her scenes on “Episode VIII,” reprises her role as General Leia Organa in the follow-up to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The latest installment finds the last remaining fighters of the Resistance facing off against Supreme Leader Snoke and his First Order.
Returning heroes Rey (Ridley), Finn (Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) are joined by new franchise faces including Rose Tico (breakout newcomer Kelly Marie Tran), a Resistance maintenance worker who jumps into the fray as Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domnhall Gleeson) advance on the dwindling rebel forces.
Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker is back, too, in an emotional installment that continues the canonical legacy of the original trilogy with Fisher a frequent screen presence through the proceedings. Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, also reprises her “Force Awakens” role as a Resistance fighter under Leia’s command.
As a massive First Order AT-M6 towered over the glitzy red carpet outside the Shrine Auditorium, filmmakers Ava DuVernay (Disney’s upcoming “A Wrinkle in Time”) and Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”) flipped for Johnson’s foray into the “Star Wars” universe.
Guests reveled their way through a massive after party designed like a Canto Bight casino, and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke shared a special moment with BB-8.